Rob Moshein - The Austin Wine Guy

Just WHO is our Government supposed to protect?

June 06, 2011


TABC collaborates with global delivery companies to stop illegal wine shipments into Texas.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is collaborating with FedEx Express and FedEx Ground, subsidiaries of FedEx Corp., (Fed Ex) and United Parcel Services (UPS) to thwart the illegal shipment of wine into Texas. On May 4, 2011, TABC met with representatives from UPS and FedEx to discuss options for preventing unlicensed retailers from selling and shipping wine to consumers in Texas.

Texas law requires that anyone selling alcoholic beverages in the state must hold a TABC license or permit. The law does not authorize TABC to issue a license or permit to a retailer outside of Texas. A retailer is defined as a company that buys alcoholic beverages and then re-sells them to the ultimate consumer. The term does not include wineries.  

"The wine industry is one of the fastest and most competitive aspects of the beverage alcohol industry today," said Steen. "Local access, convenience and competition in Texas are ever-growing, and I strongly believe consumer needs can be met through legal channels available in our state."


Great, early Monday morning, and Yr Mst Hmbl & Obdt Svt is already irate.  Of course, the subject is the TABC again. I swear I do NOT understand some things about Texas and the TABC is one of them. This Government organization exists for ONE reason only, and not the one you would expect.  It serves the express interests of the huge Alcohol Distribution lobby, who's names in reality are the Texas Package Store Association (the retailers) and Glazer's Wholesale and Republic National Distributing Co. USA.  They do NOT serve the interests of the consumer or the people in general.

The above alone should be proof enough.  Look at Steen's words, "consumer needs can be met through legal channels available in our state". REALLY? What bizarro world do you live in sir? Texas retail costs for wine are among the HIGHEST in the nation due to the protection racket the TABC runs to keep the Wholesalers and huge liquor chains in their profits. 

For example, I adore the Vatan Clos de la Neore Sancerre. I ordered some. You know how much is available for the whole state of Texas? 12 bottles. I bought some, at $60 each it's pricy. Now what if I want a couple more in a month or two and it is sold out? I NEED more, but I can't get it BECAUSE the TABC won't allow me to order it from New York or Chicago where it is in stock. Who benefits here? ONLY the wholesaler and my local retailer. Now trust me, I would always patronize my local retailers when possible, but the TABC actually works AGAINST my doing that. How? Because my local retailers can ONLY buy wine from the Texas Wholesale companies, Glazers, RNDC and the little fish guys. So, when that one case of Vatan Sancerre is gone, my retailer can't get me any more from someone else. He loses my sale. In fact, I can't buy any more from ANYONE.

Try this example.  Any of you Gentle Readers ever ordered from Omaha Steaks? What if Texas told you you can't because aren't in Texas?  How about Martha Stewart? What if they said she wasn't in Texas either...Why should wine be different? It shouldn't. The only difference is that the Wholesalers and TPSA spend millions of dollars to lobby the TABC to protect THEIR interests and not yours.

More reasons why the TABC suffers from severe rectal-cranial inversion syndrome: I can walk into a bar on Sunday afternoon and buy a drink, but I can NOT buy a bottle of vodka. Why? because the Package Stores (Twin Liquors, Spec's, Centennial etc) don't want the added COSTS of being open on a Sunday..They say "oh you will just have six days of sales spread over seven". REALLY? You've never had friends stop by on a Sunday and decided you want to make some cocktails but were out of liquor? I sure have. Nobody ever decided to have a Barbeque last minute on Sunday without planning in advance? Get real.

My FAVORITE insanity from the TABC: IF I want to bring a special bottle of wine to a restaurant, and gladly pay the corkage, I can ONLY go to a restaurant that serves beer and wine, NOT to one with a full bar. Why? well, nobody knows why, OH and if I pay full restaurant prices for a bottle of wine and we don't finish it at that place with a full bar, I can't take the rest HOME with me even though I paid for it! Yeah, these laws really proctect customers and consumer interests.

Wake up Texas. Do something, PLEASE, to bring some reason and sanity into the alcohol beverage industry in this state. Get rid of the TABC once and for all- they don't serve YOUR interests, they don't serve MY interests, their true masters are Glazers, RNDC and the Texas Package Store Association...NOT YOURS.


Rob Moshein

Austin Wine Guy

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